Find out if our mobile bar bus actually went up in the air!
Like I said last week, my friend Ben has no issues with working on big stuff and he said with full confidence that he’d be able to put my bus around 2/3 foot up in the air to service the diesel tank. So here we go!!
Saying something is one thing, doing is quite another!
When I arrived at the work shop on “lift day” all I saw was a pile of wood. This did not fill me with confidence, I’ll be honest! Ben had instructed me to buy two 3.5 ton jacks beforehand as stabilizers on each corner and our main lift was going to be a 30 ton bottle jack that Ben already had. The bus doesn’t quite weigh 9 ton so we are well withing our lifting limit.
Positioning is key!
Anybody that has ever jacked up a car will know that you’ve got to pick the right place to get it in the air safely and with something that is the best part of 9 ton you’ve got to be DAMN sure you get this bang on. So we spent some time studying the chassis and the suspension to make sure we knew exactly where to place our lifting equipment.
Will my mobile bar fall over!?
It is a well known fact that Routemasters were designed to be able to deal with substantial lean. As this old photo shows that’s 40 degrees and it’s standing there without support! but When you’re jacking up your own bus in a barn with your mate, it somehow doesn’t make you feel any better.
Up she goes…
The first few pumps were easy and before we knew it the wheels were slowly coming off the ground. She did lean to one side a little at first. We thought it was because the ground might not be totally level but it actually turned out it was because the big 30 ton jack, in the middle of the front of the bus was not totally centralized. It only has to be out by around half an inch and the whole bus was starting to lean to one side! SCARY AS F**K!!!!!
Back and forth….
Originally our plan was to go up 100 millimeter at the front, then repeat the same at the back etc etc etc. This wasn’t actually necessary. We were able to go up much more at a time and we ultimately only went back and forth twice. We would simply max out the bottle jack, add more wood on the stacks as we went, and kept heavy duty axle stands under it at all time.
The scary bits…
- Releasing a 9 ton bus onto a pile of wood.
- Being under a 9 ton bus when releasing all the weight onto a pile of wood
- Ben screaming when I released the jack and then laughing his head off for the next 5 minutes (twat)
- Adjusting one side of the bus’s height and seeing the whole thing wobble slightly
The 30 ton bottle jack used for the main lifting action actually gave out at one point. It didn’t drop but It simply stopped. Luckily Ben had a 20 ton one on standby so we were able to swap it over and continue.
Daisy the dog would follow me under the bus with the ball to get me to throw it….super helpful…..
After 4 hours of slowly jacking her up we achieved the desired height. I didn’t think it was going to be as straight forward as it was but I would never have attempted this on my own. When dealing with stuff this big it can so easily go wrong and when it does it’s never minor. You’ve got to be focused and serious all the time. For those of you who know me, seriousness and focus are my strongest assets……….PHHHHAAAAHAAA HA HA HA….
I would like to thank Ben for his expertise, help and for scaring the crap out of me on several occasions. She’s up high enough, it only cost me £98.00 (jacks) and I can now attack that crusty old fuel tank that RUINED my live tv debut!